Seaside Art Gallery celebrates a half century

By on May 29, 2011

Visitors, by Glenn Leung, 1st Place.

Seaside Art Gallery is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the 20th Annual International Miniature Art Show, one of the top five miniature art shows in the nation.

More than 585 art pieces were entered by artists from as far away as Germany and South Africa. Some were newcomers to the field while others were previous award- winners and members of prestigious miniature art societies.

“It illustrates the quality of the artists that are in this show,” said the gallery owner, Melanie Smith.

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Miniature artist Narissa “Nar” Steel from Maryland judged this year’s show. Steel is the president of the Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society of Washington, D.C.

“It was such a joy to see these magnificent miniatures but with the joy came the difficult task of selecting the winners. As anyone who views miniature paintings knows, each painting is the results of painstaking effort and diligence,” said Steel.

The winners were announced during a lively reception catered by The Pearl Restaurant on May 28. The show is open for public viewing until June 4.

Steel shared her thoughts about several of the winning pieces.

1st Place: Glenn Leung from Pennsylvania for “Visitors.”
“It was a delight to see Leung’s study of his characters in the Visitors at the museum. Each image is so clearly defined and is a complete painting of its own.“

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2nd Place: Richard Haynes from New Jersey for “Eggplants.”

“Haynes’ details in the tablecloth were amazing, plus the shadows were an integral part of the Eggplants painting.”

3rd Place: Judy Lalingo from Maryland for “Hound Study.”

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“Lalingo’s hound is waiting patiently for his next assignment. His eyes are so determined.”

Best watercolor: Tracy Hall from the United Kingdom for “Socorro Dove.”

“In Hall’s miniature, you feel the softness of the dove’s feathers and she attempts to hide in the contrasting light green leaves.”

Best Oil/Acrylic: Luann Houser from Indiana for “Prairie Bonnet.”

“The young girl in Houser’s painting faces the future with hope and faith. Looking at the flowers in her dress speaks volumes to the artist’s ability to capture every petal.”

Best etch/engraving/graphic: Abe Mathabe from South Africa for “Thandiwe.”

Best drawing/pencil award: Debi Davis from North Carolina for “Half Pass.”

“The pencil drawing … is a superb use of shadows. The eyes of the horse are carefully looking at each step he takes. The shadows beneath the reins are so skillfully drawn, plus the head and neck are perfectly balanced.”

Best sculpture/metal: Karryl from Pennsylvania for “Mac.”

“Mac, the sculpture by Karryl, is a dog ready to sit at your feet or lap. The sculptor has textured the ears and face so well that we can see she has a great understanding of the subject.”

Best sculpture/others: Sharon Dee Shaughnessy from Mississippi for “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

“The whimsical sculpture of Shaughnessy was a delight to see. Only after viewing it under a magnifier could you appreciate the smiling mermaid looking at the man in the moon and resting her tail on his chin. You almost can hear her singing a lovely piece, ageless and musical.”

Best mixed/Enc/collage: Thomas Lee from Iowa for “Edges or Borders #10.”

“Lee’s mixed media design allows the person to view the theme of few colors and then delights the eye with a splash of red, which immediately evokes an emotional response.”

People’s Choice Award: Edmund Whitaker from Germany for “In the Loving Hands of God.”

[nggallery id=10]Click on an image to see the full gallery »

Seaside Art Gallery was founded in 1961 by Smith’s parents, Jester and Barbara Smith, and their friend, William Wood. Initially, it had only one room, but over the years it grew to 12 and represents more than 200 artists from all over the world. The gallery hosts and sponsors two to four art shows a year.

“My mother was an artist at that time and it was very difficult for a female artist to get representation during the 60’s,” said owner Smith. “We specialize in original art and that’s very important to me. I don’t handle any reproductions, no offset lithographs.”

Every room is dedicated to specific kind of art which takes into consideration the quality of the art and prospective clientele.

“It’s not just how good is the artist,” said Smith. “It’s how I think our clientele will respond to it and how it works with the other pieces in the gallery. I don’t like to get art that look exactly alike.”

In the animation studio, you can see the original drawings of Disney, Warner Bros. and Hanna Barbera.

The contemporary room is where you get to view a lot of world award winners. One of the recognizable names is Gregory Kovalac, whose art hangs in the Wright Brother’s Museum. The room also displays glass art, porcelain, silver, antiques, black lacquer Russian boxes and silver jewelry from vintage Mexican pieces.

The American West room contains a smaller selection, including original wood engravings by Frederic Remington and paintings by Gregory Perillo.

The back room of the gallery is filled with modern masters’ art: Jean Miro, Picasso, Chagall, Irvin Amen, Whistler, Icart, Renoir and more. There is also a wide selection of estate jewelry in the middle of the antique room along with sculptures and antiques.

“The best part of this job is working with people, the collectors, artist, seeing and enjoying the arts, research, I love all that,” Smith said. “It’s exciting.”

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